The M.T.A. also approved a $9.3 billion operating budget for 2006, over the objections of union leaders who had demanded that the vote be delayed until labor talks are completed.
The board agreed to divide $700 million - the portion of the surplus estimated to be nonrecurring - as follows: $450 million to reduce pension liabilities, $100 million for security projects, $50 million for service improvements and $100 million for holiday fare discounts this year and next. Link
At this point I have to assume the MTA is trying to force a strike so the union can be bankrupted and broken by fines. Why else would they poke a big fat stick in the union's eye on the eve of negotiations?
I hate them.